Big Finish?

Harry

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Six games stand between the Cards and a first round bye. Why is that so important? JJ Watt is racing the clock, hoping to be activated for the playoffs. He’s needed because the Cards are significantly weaker without him, especially against the run. Buying an extra safe week could be huge and mean a ticket to the Super Bowl.

The biggest threat the Cards face would be the Packers. They own a head-to-head win and that’s the first playoff bracketing tie-breaker. This is the reason this week’s game is so critical. If the Pack beats the Rams the only remaining reasonably, possible loss is the road game at the Ravens. I suppose if things broke favorably the Vikings could challenge them but since their game is at Green Bay, the Pack figures to be favored.

The Rams will have to be at their best to win. Game time temp will be near freezing and since they’re using a late start that temp will rapidly decline. It won’t snow but it be very windy. The Rams are favored by the odds makers, but I’m hearing much of the smart money is taking the Pack. The Rams have added OBJ but I think he’s only a minor impact player; no longer a game changer. The Rams have lost Woods and that definitely is a weakening exchange. I find it hard to believe with all these factors considered that the Rams’ passing game will lead them to victory. The Rams best chance is if their defense can harass Rodgers and shut down the Pack offense, which has struggled in recent weeks. I expect a low scoring game.

The other contenders have a rough road to a bye. The Bucs get a gauntlet of a schedule. It’s been a mistake through the years to underrate Brady, but his receiving corp is simply not the same as last year. They get Indy, Buffalo and an improving Carolina team twice. They could easily lose twice.

The Rams and the Cowboys both play the Cards. On the whole, teams prefer to control their own destiny, so the Cards should be pleased. The Cards need to shake off this home game lethargy and become more aggressive at home. They have the better personnel overall and should win those games. The Cards play Indy on Christmas Day and I don’t like the Cards chances in that game, especially since Watt won’t be there. It is especially important to beat the Cowboys. If Dallas wins and so does Indy the Cards are in trouble. It’s hard to envision the Boys losing any of their other remaining games unless Philly rises up.

As for Los Angles even if they beat the Cards and the Cards lose to Indy, if the Cards win the rest LA’s 2 divisional loses puts them behind the Cards.

So it’s really quite simple. If the Cards beat Indy they will be hard to catch. If they beat Indy & Dallas they are truly in control.

As to the other games we’ve already discussed “on any given Sunday,” but I’d feel better if the Cards capture those key games. This team has come a long way in the last few years. They’ve done what was needed to secure an exciting opportunity. The path is clear. It comes down to can the Cards walk that path? I like their chances.
 

Totally_Red

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Indy game may be the toughest remaining. If the Cardinals can jump on top and make Indy one-dimensional I like our chances. See TN game.
 

Cardinal88

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Harry, I'm not sure why we are talking about a big finish for 6 games. I get the excitement of the team and it's easy to look ahead. But, it is the NFL and I know you said "any given Sunday" but your whole post was about future games with an afterthought to circle back.

Let's just win this one in Chigago before we starting thinking ahead. I hope the team is seriously taking the one at a time mentality.
 

MrYeahBut

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Heck, not even sure if/when Murray and Hopkins will play. Neither has been on the field in a month and there's been no definitive word. Not that I'm expecting it now, but nonetheless, probably won't know until next Friday.
 

Jasper

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If Rams lose we are pretty much guaranteed the division and playoffs. If packers lose, still no guarantee we win out our remaining games.
 
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CardsSunsDbacks

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If Rams lose we are pretty much guaranteed the division and playoffs. If packers lose, still no guarantee we win win out our remaining games.
If the Packers lose to the Rams than we wouldn't have to win out since we would have 2 fewer losses than the Packers. Of course there is no guarantee that we go at least 5-1 either.
 
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football karma

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Dallas' schedule down the stretch is harder than it might appear, especially given how up and down they are

only the Giants could be considered a bad team -- everyone else is at minimum "dangerous" -- NO, Washington 2x, Philly

the Rams schedule is pretty hard, even after today. three week closing stretch of @MIN, @BAL and home vs SF -- figuring all three of those teams will be fighting for the playoffs -- is tough

then there is this for the Rams:

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Zalixar

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Heck, not even sure if/when Murray and Hopkins will play. Neither has been on the field in a month and there's been no definitive word. Not that I'm expecting it now, but nonetheless, probably won't know until next Friday.
I think Kyler will be back for Chicago but not Dhop.
 

BACH

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I’ve now seen all contenders play at least 3 times. Barring more injuries, the Cards playing at their best are the strongest NFC team.
I agree. There are match-up that are harder and match-ups that are easier, but this is top to buttom the best team in the league.
 

slanidrac16

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I’ve now seen all contenders play at least 3 times. Barring more injuries, the Cards playing at their best are the strongest NFC team.
That’s the key. Playing their best. Any team can beat just about any other team if they play their best.
 

SoonerLou

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I agree. There are match-up that are harder and match-ups that are easier, but this is top to buttom the best team in the league.
To me it depends on if the Bucs get Antonio Brown back or not.

Gronk/AB healthy on the field and they looked very difficult to beat. Either one or both were missing in all of their losses this year.

I think we can beat em, but it would probably have to be in a shootout (if AB/Gronk are healthy).
 
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